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As low-code and no-code approaches rise, developers brace for new challenges

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The Covid crisis accelerated many things digital, and among them, the drive to open up relatively simple interfaces that enable non-technical users to build their own applications, as well as speed up the work of professional developers -- known as low-code or no-code solutions. At the same time, some industry observers point out that citizen developers aren't going to be taking the reins of IT anytime soon.

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Photo: Michael Krigsman

There's no question that the Covid situation accelerated the low-code/no-code movement, out of necessity. And with it, came the platforms. While "use of prepackaged software components and frameworks to accelerate custom development is not new... the quick response of development platform vendors as solutions providers during the early Covid-19 crisis will be seen as a signal event in emergence of prescriptive low-code platforms," according to an analysis issued by Forrester analysts John Bratincevic and John Rymer. (Available as a free download[1] from Ultimus.) 

The emphasis is on prescriptive, as these platforms aren't just tools, as they offer, through highly visual components, "Lego-like blocks of business functionality" to configure and compose enterprise applications. "They abstract business functions through business components that manage invoice processing, ledgers, timesheets and schedules, onboarding, and other business functions." 

Still, as Bratincevic and his co-authors caution, low- and no-code progress is dependent on how far vendors are willing to go. "Most advocates of prescriptive low-code are small vendors requiring deep customer commitments. And vendors must deliver both business-domain and development-platform expertise."

In many ways. "low-code" and "no-code" are forever a promise that are just a couple of years away. As Steve Jones, CTO of Capgemini, pointed out in a recent post[2], "the number of developers in IT only continues to increase, and is forecast to keep increasing...

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